The movie Wild, starring Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, tells the true story of one woman’s three-month journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches through California, Oregon and Washington.
The movie demonstrates the challenges Cheryl Strayed (played by Witherspoon) faced along the trail, as well as the inspirational moments she experienced. Brooke Weeber, an illustrator based in Portland, Oregon, decided to follow in Strayed’s footsteps and tackle the Oregon portion of the Pacific Crest Trail on her own, documenting her every step for Travel Oregon. Below are snippets from her journey:
“What brought you out here?” It’s a common question you hear from other hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and one for which I could never muster up an adequate response. No matter how often I turned that question around in my mind, the most I could come up with was: “I really enjoy hiking and I wanted to take it to the next level.” And that’s exactly what I did. And then some.
I’d only been backpacking a few times before I set out on the trail, and those trips had primarily been quick one-nighters. In short, I was a woman with little hands-on experience in the world of long distance hiking. So when I dove head-first into the unknown and embarked on my 30-day trek across Oregon, I had a naive vision of what to expect. Unsurprisingly, I was very wrong about most of my expectations.
I set out on July 26th just south of Ashland; almost immediately, I started questioning my purpose and my sanity. The mounting feelings of physical exhaustion kicked in just a few short hours after I heaved my heavy 45-pound [roughly 20 kilogram] backpack onto my shoulders and teetered slowly up the trail. I expected that. I knew I wasn’t in peak physical condition, despite my marathon training and the long hikes I’d done leading up to it. I realized nothing could completely prepare me for the daily life of long-distance hiking. But I also knew I’d made a commitment to myself and I wasn’t going to give up, despite the physical discomfort.
I hustled up the trail, pausing to take photos of the mounting storm because it was so beautiful as it chased me along the ridge.
My first view of Mount Thielsen coming out of Crater Lake immediately reminded me why I was on the trail: I love the mountains.
Their grandness, the challenges they present, each and every one with its own distinct personality. With more than a week of predominantly flat terrain behind me, I was ready for some elevation gain and the views that come